Qatar blast kills Briton

Worrying news indeed from Qatar. This would appear to be work of al-Qaeda, and if it is, is the first attack (outside of Iraq) for quite a while. As the Observer piece notes:

Al-Qaeda militants have staged attacks in neighbouring Saudi Arabia and Kuwait but Qatar, a key US ally, has seen no Islamist violence and prides itself on its security. Qatar hosts the US military’s Central Command, and two years ago was a launch pad for the US-led invasion of Iraq.

Most of the theatre’s members are from the UK, although other nationalities are represented, according to the Doha Players’ website.

What makes this more worrying is that Qatar is indeed the base for US military operation in the region. That the attack happened to a civilan target, on Western interests in the region, and in the country of US bases, and was a car bomb, seems to show that it was a planned al-Qaeda operation, and not the work of a lone bomber. This means that there is at least one active al-Qaeda cell in the country. I guess one of the results of the invasion of Iraq is that terrorists there are perfecting their bomb-making skills, and may be exporting this intellectual capital to other cells.

How long before an attack on my oft-visited city, Dubai? I can only guess, but Dubai has long served as a hub for al-Qaeda, so I would wonder if an attack there would be counter-productive. That said the Emirates are a target just like any other, with plenty of Western interests there extremely vulnerable to an attack such as this. The BBC has more.